In their article written for the British daily, The Guardian, four political experts give their view about peace in the Balkans and the current balance of power in the region.
“Peace in the Balkans is again under threat. EU governments must confront the Serb government before it is too late. The recent European summit in Versailles missed a great opportunity: to launch, in a symbolic place, a new postwar order for Europe… But there was an opportunity to establish a political union that would bridge the gap between a looser association and full membership. Instead, European leaders proceeded as if regular peacetime EU procedures are still appropriate in the extreme case of war in Europe. The freedom and peace project gave way to the EU of bureaucrats and officials,” they write and add:
“The UK must move closer again to Europe’s political community, an association that was carelessly squandered by Brexit. But stronger protection against Russia also means that Putin’s Trojan horses, such as Viktor Orbán’s Hungary and Aleksandar Vučić’s Serbia, should be opposed more decisively. This raises questions above all about enforcing the fundamental legal commitments of Hungary’s EU membership and Serbia’s continued status as an EU candidate country,” the article says.
Speaking about the fragile political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in particular, in the Republic of Srpska, the four political experts say:” Bosnia-Herzegovina deserves special attention in this context. Serbian politicians in Belgrade and in Banja Luka (capital of the autonomous Bosnian Serb Republic) are fuelling divisive tendencies that, 30 years after the start of the war in Yugoslavia, are breaking up Bosnia-Herzegovina’s fragile confederation. They are even making a new war between country’s ethnic groups seem possible. Greater Serb separatists can be sure of the active support of the Putin regime.
Putin has provided the blueprint for such shameful manoeuvres before all our eyes since 2008 in the case of Georgia, and since 2014 in Ukraine. The EU turned a blind eye to it, ignoring Kremlin provocations and the divisive manoeuvres of opponents of European unity, from Marine Le Pen to Orbán. As Putin meticulously prepared his attack plans, Europe’s energy dependence increased dramatically while German defence spending decreased. “
They then draw parallels between “Putin’s project of a Russian world” to Slobodan Milošević’s “Serbian world” “in which compatriots in Bosnia and Montenegro were to be brought home into the mother empire, just as ethnic Russians in Crimea and the Donbas region were brought “home” in 2014. Milošević’s dream famously ended at the international criminal court.
The Serbs in Banja Luka and Belgrade must decide on which side they belong. Milorad Dodik, the Bosnian Serb leader, has refused sanctions against Russia, and Russian (and Chinese) interested parties are coming and going in Belgrade. A clear signal to Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as to NATO member Montenegro, would show that these two states are counted as part of the democratic world and belong in an enlarged European community.”
The article was written by Daniel Cohn-Bendit, chair of the Green Group in the European parliament; Timothy Garton Ash, professor of European studies at Oxford University; Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski, professor of political theory and democracy studies at Leipzig University, and Claus Leggewie, a Ludwig Börne professor at Gießen University.
(Danas, The Guardian, 22.03.2022)
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